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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Iran wants US to unfreeze $10 billion in funds to resume nuclear talks


The Iranian official said that Vienna talks would restart “soon”.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said US officials tried restarting nuclear talks last month, but the the Islamic Republic demanded that Washington unfreezes $10 billion of Tehran’s frozen funds as a sign of good will.

“The Americans tried to contact us through different channels [at the UN General Assembly] in New York, and I told the mediators if America’s intentions are serious then a serious indication was needed … by releasing at least $10 billion of blocked money,” Amirabdollahian told state television on Saturday.

The Iranian diplomat also stressed that Iran would “soon” return to the Vienna nuclear talks, though failed to specify a date.

Indirect US-Iran talks in Vienna kicked off in April this year in efforts to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA] following Washington’s withdrawal, with both sides expressing their readiness to restore the accord.

The last round of talks in Vienna took place on 20 June, with reports suggesting diplomats would return to the negotiating table following President Ebrahim Raisi’s inauguration.

Russia urges US to be more ‘active’ in reviving Iran nuclear accord

Nearly two months on, the talks have yet to resume.

On Thursday, the European Union’s High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell told a joint press conference in Doha with Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani that Iran is “ready to re-engage” and to resume the talks.

Responding to a question from Doha News over the definition of “soon”, Borrell it “is an undefined measure of time”.

“It means different things in different cultures. For sure, ‘soon’ does not mean the same thing in London than in Beijing. But I have been talking with the new Foreign Affairs Minister of Iran…as Coordinator of these talks, I am convinced that the talks will resume in a timeline that will be acceptable for everybody,” said Borrell.

Meanwhile, Qatar has been stressing the importance of a swift return to negotiations while offering to mediate between the US and Iran.

“We want a quiet region. We hold consultations with Iran and keep our channels open with Tehran. We do not want to see a nuclear race in the region,” said Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani in an interview with the US Council on Foreign Relations [CFR] last week.

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